West Sussex peer support programme 2014-2015
This is what a pupil from a Horsham school said after being trained as a Peer Mentor:
“Being a Buddy has made me grow up! It has helped me to sort out problems for other people so now I am also better at sorting out my own problems too! I’ve changed a lot – I feel more confident now, talking to other people too. It is great to know how to help everyone be friends together”
The Peer Support Programme has proved a big success in helping schools across West Sussex to provide mentoring or buddying for vulnerable, unhappy or lonely pupils. Outcomes during the first two years of the programme have been so successful that MBF has been commissioned to roll out this free training and support programme not only to further schools during 2014/15 but to other learning settings across West Sussex.
Programme to date
During the first two years 45 schools (36 primary and 9 secondary, including 2 special) have taken part in the programme which is fully funded by West Sussex Public Health and delivered by MBF in close collaboration with West Sussex Healthy Schools. School staff involved so far as project lead have ranged from Learning Mentors through to Deputy Headteachers with senior management support in most cases provided by the Headteacher.
Development of the 2014-15 programme
The 2014-15 programme will focus on working with schools and other learning settings across West Sussex to help them establish peer support projects to support the emotional health and wellbeing of young people. Each learning setting will be supported to develop its own peer mentoring or buddying programme which might involve setting up a playground support scheme or a school library-based ‘drop-in’ or alternatively matched one-to-one support sessions.
The scheme provides free training for staff on how to establish a peer support project, and free on-site training for children and young people on becoming a peer mentor or buddy,
in addition to free project resources and ongoing support.
Peer mentoring and buddying provides support for pupils of all ages who may be feeling unhappy, vulnerable or lonely. While the peer supporters volunteer to help their younger peers feel happier with their life at school, in the playground or generally, they themselves gain in confidence and self-esteem, as they put into practice the skills of mentoring or buddying learned in the training.
2012-13 year one evaluation
Read about the successes of year one of this programme and download the full evaluation report
2013-2014 year two evaluation
Download our report summarising the findings of year 2: West Sussex Peer Support programme Annual Report 2013-14